According to research, approximately 77 percent of international STEM doctoral graduates from American universities have stayed in the US after graduation over the last five years.
Georgetown University research analyst Jack Corrigan, data scientist James Dunham, and research fellow Remco Zwetsloot published an issue brief earlier this month examining the statistical correlations between international STEM doctoral students studying in the United States and remaining in the country after graduation.
The authors identified several major findings in their The Long-Term Stay Rates of International STEM PhD Graduates study, made possible by Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, using data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients.
“One of the United States’ greatest advantages in attracting STEM talent is the strength of its higher education system,”the authors asserted.
According to the authors, over the last 20 years, the international student population in the United States has accounted for more than 40% of the nearly half-million doctoral degrees conferred by universities. “Those who stay in the country after receiving their degrees strengthen the domestic STEM workforce and make valuable contributions to the economy and society,” they argue in their discussion of the impact of students who stay in the US post-doc.
The PIE News reported earlier on the implementation plan, which allows international students to stay in the United States for up to three years after graduation. The Biden-Harris administration’s January 2022 briefing added 22 new STEM categories to the existing list of STEM categories approved for the Optional Practical Training programme.
Prior to the briefing, the CSET authors’ data from the NSF survey was collected, and it revealed no significant differences in stay rates between different disciplines within the STEM field. For the past two decades, data on the countries of origin of international students studying in the United States has been collected. Students from China and India accounted for nearly half of all international STEM PhD graduates in the United States. Furthermore, the authors stated that the majority of Chinese and Indian graduates stay long after graduation.
Moreover, the authors also emphasised that, due to caps on the number of green cards issued per country, Indian graduates often had “more difficulty obtaining permanent residency” than their peers from other nations.
Yuhan Wang is a former international student and website developer who earned a STEM graduate degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts in 2019. She spoke about her experience as a Chinese student who pursued STEM graduate work in the United States.
“I dreamed of joining a tech company like Amazon or Facebook before I came to the US. When I got the offer [to study] at NEU, I knew I was closer to my dream.” As with myriad other international students eager to work in the US post-graduation, becoming an international student in America was highly desirable to Wang for several reasons.
“It was not only an opportunity to prove myself, but also a great resource to network with excellent people and gain top experiences. Also, the [OPT] was appealing to me as a new graduate.” Wang received her H-1B visa this year and is actively seeking her “dream job” in a leading tech company.
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